Friends know that prayer is essential both for deepening their worship and for living rightly ordered lives. Through regular practice, prayer becomes an important means of making God central to our lives.
There is a way of living in prayer at the same time that one is busy with the outward affairs of daily living. This practice of continuous prayer in the presence of God involves developing the habit of carrying on the mental life at two levels. At one level we are immersed in the world of time, of daily affairs. At the same time but at a deeper level of our minds, we are in active relation with the Eternal Life.
— Thomas Kelly, 1942
Since Friends have no prescribed form of prayer, we are free to discover those practices and words that meet our individual and communal needs. Prayer can be sung, thought, spoken, or expressed through the work of our hands or the movements of our bodies. We may use formal prayers, such as The Lord’s Prayer, or our own heartfelt words. We may simply “be” in the Presence where words are unnecessary.
Friends find that prayer:
- Opens us to Spirit, so that we may come close to God and God may come close to us;
- Is an instrument of God’s truth and love for and through us;
- Enables us to listen deeply for truth, to be healed and become whole;
- Helps us to wait for guidance from the Inward Teacher;
- Expresses to Spirit our gratitude, desire, love, joy, and thanksgiving;
- Pours forth our sorrow, anger, struggle, and confession;
- Unites us with those of other faiths;
- Leads us to transformation, faithfulness, and service.
Friends are aware that praying by “holding in the Light” can contribute to healing for those who suffer. Holding a person in the Light is a way of focusing love, without any expectation other than that the recipient becomes whole in the moment and experiences the Spirit deeply. In this form of prayer a specific outcome is not the intention, though comfort and a sense of spiritual well-being may often result.